Nestled in a tiny blanket, this orphaned baby squirrel glugs special milk from a syringe every four hours to stay alive.
The five-week-old, and its three tiny siblings, are being nursed back to health by Natalia Doran who runs Urban Squirrels from her home in Roehampton, West London.
But a strict law introduced two years ago means they won’t be released back into the wild.
Grey squirrels are now on a list of non-native animals illegal to set free.
Some rescue centres are having to euthanise the very animals they have saved.
The abandoned kits were brought to Natalia after being found by a builder.
She receives up to 150 calls a year and has a licence to keep 12 squirrels but is now full so is turning away other injured, orphaned or sick animals requiring help.
Other sanctuaries are also full.
Greys were introduced from North America in 1876 by Victorian landowners who released them into English parkland as status symbols.
The Royal Forestry Society says they have caused £37million of damage to trees and spread squirrel pox to native reds.
Natalia described the law as “draconian”, saying she is now keeping healthy wild animals in captivity.
She also fears if members of the public try to look after animals at home, “it would actually cause more harm than good”.
She added that the numbers released would be tiny and in areas where there were no threats to native reds.
Advocates for Animals, an animal protection law firm, is working with her to request an exception.
Solicitor Edie Bowles, said: “There is no logical reason why rescue centres that treat and release grey squirrels, that were once in the environment, should not be able to do so.”
A Defra spokesman said: “Invasive non-native species threaten our native biodiversity and cost the economy £1.86billion a year”, adding the order is “an important tool in managing numbers”.
Source – Mirror